When the local newspapers weren’t full of financial worries, layoffs at fruit packing plants and the crystallized fruit factories, and falling prices for the farmers, they were reporting a series of local girls who had gone missing.
We heard the talk and saw the headlines, but we managed not to register any of it. We took refuge in our foreign status, bound up in our own little world, where nothing could touch us.
From The Lantern
The idea of the blissful isolation – or ignorance – experienced by foreigners in a country not their own is neatly summed up in this picture of our local newspaper, La
. It is one of the “gifts from the house”: found objects we have kept and made part of the place again. I’ve cropped the picture so that you can’t tell, but it’s framed in pine and hangs in the kitchen. Provence
The artist has taken the front page and used it as the canvas for a rather good painting of Lourmarin on the southern slopes of the Luberon ridge. It seems to have been intended as a wedding present, and we assume that Lourmarin was either where the wedding took place (or did it?) or where the couple lived. The date on the masthead is November 2000.
This picture was found in the bergerie, the guest cottage across the track, sealed in behind a fabric bed headboard that we dismantled before we gave the room a new coat of paint. It seems odd that it was sealed in – was the present unwanted? Did one of the newly-weds hate it? Or had it never been given, but left by the artist, who decided not to hand it over, after all? Such are the delicious questions that arise when you find strange objects unexpectedly – tiny glimpses into other lives to which you will never know the answers.
So there it is, the out-of-date newspaper on which any news has been over-painted with an idyllic scene. It seems to stand for that feeling you have on holiday when you can give yourself space to be rather than continuously worrying about day-to-day responsibilities, which includes knowing what all those media reports say.